My review of Hastings Admitted Students' Day
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my personal experience and should be taken as such. I would recommend everyone visit this and any schools they are considering and form their own opinion. I am only posting this because a few people asked me to - this should not act as a substitute for visiting the school yourself.
The schedule of the day was as follows:
9:30-9:50 Registration and refreshments: yummy coffee, fresh fruit and some pastries
9:55-10:15 Welcome by the Dean of Admissions, Chancellor and Dean, and President of student organization
Concurrent sessions (pick two – the ones I attended are bold)
10:20 – 11:00 Session 1
1. Financial Aid Presentation
2. Career Services Presentation - I am glad I went to this, it was helpful. What I liked is that their career services people seem to focus on finding the right fit for you as opposed to trying to steer you into BIGLAW or something that doesn’t fit with your values. Also found out that OCI is 75% pre-screen, 25% lottery.
3. Student’s Guide to Housing
11:05 – 11:45 Session 2
Repeat of above sessions, I went to the financial aid presentation. It was pretty basic info, and in retrospect I wish I would have gone to the housing one instead. Good for people who have no clue about Financial Aid. Also, Hastings has a great LRAP program for those who go into public interest law.
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch with UC Hastings Students
We walked down the street to Lalita’s Thai restaurant where there was a buffet setup. I enjoyed being able to talk to current students in a more relaxed setting. Very nice.
1:15 – 2:15 Panel of 3 professors
The 3 different professors briefly spoke about Hastings and about their own fields of study. They were all very likeable and interesting – seemed easily accessible and not intimidating. They also answered questions.
2:15 – 3:00 Student Guided Tours of Campus
We got to tour the entire 198 building, but the newly renovated building isn’t open yet! The current facilities leave much to be desired – I was not really impressed with the computer lab (small-ish), the library or the non-existent cafeteria BUT they are opening up the new building soon so it will all be open for incoming students. So I wouldn’t base my decision on the facilities, since the newly renovated building will house an all new library and full service cafeteria.
We also saw The Tower, the building which houses many Hastings students. It is pretty old, but I was pleasantly surprised. The apartments have nice views of the city and are right next to the law school so you can literally roll out of bed and go to class. The only thing that sucks about living in the Tower, from what I have been told, is that the elevators are slow (there are only 3 of them, and one only goes to the 13th floor). Also because it is in the Tenderloin (read: sketchy) area of SF, when you come home from going out at night you are coming back to a bad area. But the residents say the security guards are very good and it is a safe place to live.
There is also a fitness room inside of the Tower and a basketball court downstairs. On the 24th floor there is an art-deco style Skyroom with amazing views of SF.
2:30-4:00 Reception in the Skyroom. This was basically a chance to eat more food and linger, talk to current students, whatever.
Overall, I liked what I saw. Here is a re-cap
- friendly atmosphere
- -non-intimidating faculty and administration
- values-centered career services
- San Francisco in general!!
- Proximity to courts – just down the street!
- Larger size = more opportunities (more journals, courses, etc)
- Convenient housing at the Tower
Not so good:
- Current students agree that it is super competitive, tough curve, Socratic method is used
- Bigger student body size may be seen as a disadvantage by some
- Facilities not that impressive
- Tenderloin = scary area
- A few of the students I talked to seemed like they had an inferiority complex – they got really defensive when I asked about Hastings’ national reputation. I didn’t like the defensive vibe and the constant need to defend against Boalt and Stanford.
I hope this helps people. I didn’t speak to the rankings or stuff like job placement because you can get that info elsewhere. This is just my $0.02 and I hope that it is useful.